Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common among older adults, especially women. A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system, such as the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. UTIs can cause symptoms such as burning or pain when urinating, frequent or urgent urination, cloudy or bloody urine, pelvic pain, fever, and confusion.
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra. The most common type of bacteria is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, other types of bacteria or fungi can also cause UTIs, especially in older adults who use catheters or live in long-term care facilities.
UTIs can have serious consequences for older adults, especially those with dementia or other cognitive impairments. UTIs can worsen their mental state and cause delirium, which is a sudden change in attention, awareness, and behavior. Delirium can make it harder for older adults to communicate their symptoms, follow instructions, and take their medications. Delirium can also increase the risk of falls, injuries, hospitalizations, and death.
In addition, UTIs result in a huge economic burden to families, Home Healthcare providers, healthcare systems, leading to significant losses of income, morbidity, and restricted activity. UTIs are responsible for one million emergency room visits in the USA and 100,000 hospitalizations each year. Furthermore, in this country, among patients aged over 65 years, UTIs cause 15.5% of hospitalizations and 6.2% of deaths attributable to infectious disease.
The Important Role Health Care Providers Can Play In The Prevention and Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infections
Health Care providers can play an important role in preventing, detecting, and treating UTIs in older adults. Home health care providers can help older adults by:
- Encouraging them to drink plenty of fluids to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract Reminding them to urinate regularly and completely to empty the bladder
- Checking for signs and symptoms of UTIs, such as changes in urine color, odor, or amount Performing urine tests to diagnose UTIs and identify the causative bacteria
- Administering antibiotics and other medications as prescribed by the doctor
- Monitoring their response to treatment and reporting any adverse effects or complications
- Educating them and their caregivers about UTIs and how to prevent them
- Teaching them proper hygiene practices to avoid introducing bacteria into the urinary tract
Introducing Bidet Use Into A Senior’s Daily Routine To Improve Hygiene and Quality of LifeAnother way to help prevent and treat UTIs in older adults is to use a bidet, a device that sprays water to clean the genital and anal areas. Bidets can help reduce the risk of UTIs by washing away bacteria that may enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Bidets can also be gentler on the skin than toilet paper, which can cause irritation and micro-cuts that may allow bacteria to enter.
Bidets are especially beneficial for older adults who have limited mobility, cognitive impairment, or incontinence. Bidets can help them maintain their hygiene and dignity without relying on caregivers or risking infection. Bidets can also help soothe the symptoms of UTIs, such as burning or itching, by providing a gentle and soothing water stream.
Bidets are safe and sanitary to use, as long as they are installed and maintained properly. The water pressure and angle of the bidet should be adjusted to avoid forcing water into the vagina or bladder, which could cause infection. The bidet should also be cleaned regularly to prevent bacterial growth. Many bidets can clean or sanitize the bidet wand automatically after each use.
Bidets are becoming more popular and accessible in the United States, as they offer a convenient and comfortable way to improve personal hygiene and health. Older adults who suffer from UTIs or want to prevent them should consider using a bidet as part of their daily routine.
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Sources: mayoclinic.org, healthline.com, mayoclinic.org, medicalnewstoday.com, medicalnewstoday.com, medicalnewstoday.com, medicalnewstoday.com, health.clevelandclinic.org, samodrahome.com, homequipments.com